Well, it was a good run, albeit a short and (in my opinion) misguided one. After just 3 years, Microsoft announced on February 1, 2023, that they were retiring the MS-600 exam and the associated Microsoft 365 Certification for Microsoft Teams Application Developers. While they hinted at some sort of a replacement, those details are missing and just vaguely mention a “new experience” in passing.
In this article, I’ll answer the following questions:
- Why are they doing this?
- How does it impact whether you’re already certified or if you’re preparing for the exam?
- How does this impact my MS-600 exam prep course ?
- What if you’re a student of my MS-600 exam prep course ?
I’ve published a video on my YouTube channel on this same topic where I’m a bit more candid than I am in this article.
Microsoft’s blog post has a lot of information in it about changes to multiple exams and certifications and the MS-600 exam and M365 Teams Developer Certification is just a part of it, so let me summarize it to save you some time.
On February 1, 2023, Microsoft Learn announced the MS-600 exam & associated certification you get when you pass it, the Microsoft 365 Certified Teams Application Developer Associate will be retired on March 31, 2023.
That means March 31, 2023, is the last day you can take the MS-600 exam.
The one exception to this is if you work for a company that’s part of the Microsoft Cloud Partner Network . If you’re a cloud partner, you can get a special code to register for the exam until December 31, 2023.
Regardless of how you take the exam, if you pass it, you achieve the certification and it’s valid for up to one year.
If you’ve already achieved the certification, it will remain on your transcript. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to take the renewal exam, which is a smaller exam than the MS-600 exam, until January 2024.
Wait… that’s what the picture says. But the FAQ below the picture says 6 months after the December 31, 2023 retirement. Checking notes… that’s what I thought…
I know only a subset of Microsofties use Bing, but even Bing says six months after December 31, 2023, is June 30, 2024 … that’s quite a contradiction. I’ve asked for clarification so we’ll have to see what they say .
I’m assuming the renewal is good for a year, so what happens after that year? I assume it will just show as retired on your certification transcript like my old MCDBA certification from 20+ years ago does today.
Andrew’s MCDBA for SQL Server 200 retired certification from 20+ years ago
Why are they doing this? Quoting from the announcement blog post :
We’ve heard from learners and organizations that the certification should be better aligned with current needs. Right now, the measured skills are too specific and are covered by other roles. To focus on developing the right experience, we’ll retire the certification and the corresponding exam.
So, I’ve covered the facts and impact of the retirement decision by Microsoft Learning. What’s next for Microsoft 365 developers? Are we going back to the pre-2019 days of no certification?
That’s unclear, all Microsoft said in their post is “the future of work [that] is fluid, dynamic, and cloud-powered”.
OK, great… but what does that mean? What’s this new experience?
Unfortunately we have no idea because they haven’t shared anything else so far. But, according to the sources I’ve talked to in Microsoft Learning, it seems like they haven’t talked about it because they don’t know either. So, it sort of makes sense why they’re being so vague!
Wonder why Microsoft even created the MS-600 exam and what’s behind their thinking in retiring the exam just 3 years after launching it?
At the risk of boring some people, let me talk a little bit about the history of this exam & certification both from a public and behind-the-scenes point of view.
The MS-600 exam & associated certification was created in response to customer demand. For a few years, Microsoft had been pushing the idea of a Microsoft 365 developer at their conferences & in their marketing. But customers were left asking “What makes someone a Microsoft 365 developer?” and “How do we identify candidates as Microsoft 365 developers and evaluate their skills?”
So, Microsoft created a certification, the Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate, to answer this customer demand. The idea at the time was that it would measure the developer’s skills on 5 different workloads that they defined as being core Microsoft 365 developer skills: Microsoft identity, Microsoft Graph, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and Office Add-ins.
Learn how they created this exam, check out my video where I went behind the scenes as I was involved in this process throughout 2019.
But in my opinion, initially, it was way too broad of an exam to adequately test your knowledge of being a Microsoft 365 Developer. Each of those workloads is pretty big… how can a single exam with a 2-hour time limit measure someone’s knowledge? While we did the best we could in creating the exam, it still seemed like it was flawed to me. Each exam usually has an instructor-led course Microsoft offers at the same time.
But the course they created that was supposed to teach developers not only what they needed to know, but the topics they’d be tested on was capped at 5 days long. So you’re telling me I can take a developer and send them to a class, and in 5 days they know Azure AD, Microsoft Graph, the SharePoint Framework, Microsoft Teams app dev, and how to create Office Add-ins?
Would you trust your enterprise app using that model? Maybe if they stayed at a Holiday Inn Express the week of class… wait… let’s not go there…
They asked me to create the course but imposed a 3 week deadline it had to go live with the exam announcement at Ignite 2019. As an experienced course creator, you can’t build a quality 5-day course in that amount of time so I passed on that “opportunity”.
All this being said, that’s why I created my exam prep course with a different approach - I didn’t attempt to you everything. Instead, my course is a guide explaining what you needed to know, focus on, and what you could avoid to best prepare for the exam. I also shared free resources you could use to prepare for the exam… and it was working great! Hundreds of my students were passing the MS-600 exam!
Seems Microsoft wasn’t too happy with how things were going with the exam and certification. Customers weren’t registering for the exam & certified in the numbers they had hoped.
This made sense. The companies I talked to told me the reason they weren’t sending people to get certified or making it a requirement for job applications is that they thought the candidates they were getting were too light on all the workloads. Now, the word “associate” in certification, in Microsoft Learning terminology, means someone has the equivalent of 4 years of experience and can not only design a solution to a business problem but implement a solution on their own.
Maybe these candidates were good SharePoint Framework developers, but they didn’t have Azure AD or Microsoft Teams experience. Again, that makes sense! Two hours of multiple choice questions on an exam used to determine someone has 4 years of experience on 5 big workloads? Is it really a surprise that’s not a great way to measure people?
So, either to fix the low registration numbers for the MS-600 or to promote their marketing message that pushed Microsoft Teams app development, in the fall of 2022 Microsoft released a big change to the exam & certification: it was now a Microsoft Teams app developer certification. They took what they had with the current MS-600 exam, cut Office Add-ins to make some room, added some generic questions for app dev & testing, and added more emphasis on Microsoft Teams.
After doing that, they say they’re getting feedback from customers that some areas in the exam are better covered by other roles or exams… presumably workloads like SharePoint, Azure AD, Microsoft Graph, and others.
Customers were giving the same feedback… at least that’s what I was hearing from the ones I was talking to. So I have to guess, and hope, customers were sharing the same feedback with Microsoft Learning.
When it comes down to it, in my opinion, people weren’t registering for the exam in the numbers they’d hoped because the whole point of it was flawed from the start. It’s classic product development: solve a customer’s problem - ‘give us a tool to adequately measure and quantify a candidate’s skill set as a Microsoft 365 Developer.’
So now, they claim the measured skills are too specific for Microsoft Teams app development, so they’re retiring it and replacing it with something new. Funny… seems to me they put themselves into this situation.
So, what does this mean for my MS-600 exam prep course & what does this mean for my current & past students?
Well, personally I’m extremely disappointed with such short notice on the retirement. Not just as someone who’s selling a course, but in Microsoft giving developers very less than 2 months notice of this significant change.
- If you’re currently enrolled in my MS-600 exam prep course, I strongly encourage you to take your exam by March 31, 2023. If you’re an employee of a Microsoft Cloud Partner, you have until December 31, 2023.
- Voitanos will continue to sell the course through the public retirement of March 31, 2023.
- After March 31, 2023, Voitanos will retire my course and pull it from the online store. If you’re an active student of the course, you’ll still have access to the content.
☝️ Note when you enrolled, it granted access to the course for 3 months and then started a $50/mo automatic subscription once the 90 days access was over. You can cancel this automatic payment at any time in your account.
However, once the course is pulled from the store on March 31, 2023, we’ll terminate all automatic subscriptions so you won’t be charged again.
- The course will be pulled from the course library after April 31, 2023.
While the retirement decision is disappointing, I’m not surprised. Honestly, I’m disappointed that the official statement about why Microsoft Learning is retiring the MS-600 exam and associated certification is a little disingenuous, but I guess you have to put a marketing spin on bad news.
To the students of my MS-600 exam prep course, I want to thank you for trusted me with helping you prepare for the MS-600 exam. What will the future hold with this exam and certification is yet to be told.
If you’ve got a question or comment about anything I’ve covered here, please leave it as a comment in the video on associated with this article.